Minister of Sport, Nathi Mthethwa has warned both the South African Football Association (SAFA) and the Premier Soccer League (PSL) that the department will halt the resumption of football if protocols are not adhered to.
The long-awaited return of domestic football takes place this weekend, with the Nedbank Cup semi-final matches at Orlando Stadium.
Speaking at a media briefing on Monday, where he gave an update on the resumption of sport, Mthethwa urged both SAFA and the PSL to work together to ensure that they follow all protocols.
“We reserve a right to halt any activity if we feel that those protocols and those plans are not adhered to,” said Mthethwa.
“The compliance officers of both South African Football Association (SAFA) and the National Soccer League (PSL) will work together to ensure that all measures comply with the commitment made by the PSL in their submission to Government.
“We are pleased that the Department of Health has concurred with the proposal for football to return, to completing the season behind closed doors in a Biological Safe Environment (BSE).
“This is subject to the plans they have submitted and all other protocols as outlined in the regulations and directions published by the department. They (PSL) will play based on the plans which were submitted to the department,” He said.
Mthethwa also applauded SAFA and the PSL for ‘working together’ of late, in approaching the government.
“We are expecting to receive the compliance officers’ reports from SAFA on the state of readiness of the NSL to resume to play.
“At this point, I must express my appreciation on how the PSL and SAFA of late have been working together through the joint liaison committee and they have been approaching Government as one, and we applaud them for that and we want that to continue,” he told reporters.
Football will return on Saturday, 8 August with Baroka taking on Bloemfontein Celtic in the first semi-final at 14:00, while Mamelodi Sundowns will take on Bidvest Wits five hours later.
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By Ofhani Munyai